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14 Febuary - Neil Davis, combat cameraman

Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:57 pm
by Max ADU
Australian Birthday Today - Neil Brian Davis born 14 February 1934, in Nala, Tasmania, – died 9 September 1985, Bangkok Thailand was an Australian combat cameraman

Neil Davis.jpg

At an early age of 14 Davis left school to work in the Tasmanian Government Film Unit. In 1961 joining the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) as a cine-cameraman.

Neil was recognised for his work as a photojournalist during the Vietnam War and other conflicts in the region

In early 1964 Davis went to Borneo to cover the confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia. Shortly afterwards Davis made his first visits to Vietnam and Laos.

Davis chose to film the war from the South Vietnamese perspective, shooting acclaimed combat footage on many occasions and acquiring a reputation for skill and luck. He was driven by the desire to obtain the best film he could and was well known for his neutrality, crossing, on one occasion, to film from the Viet Cong side.

Between 1970 and 1975 Davis spent increasing amounts of time in Cambodia and he moved to Phnom Penh in 1971. He was severely wounded on several occasions, once almost losing a leg, but was fit and determined enough to recover and continue his work.

After Vietnam, Davis based himself in Bangkok, Thailand but travelled to cover stories in Angola, Sudan, Uganda and Lebanon. In 1978 he was briefly imprisoned in Syria, accused of spying for Israel.

Neil Davis was killed in Bangkok on 9 September 1985, while filming a minor Thai coup attempt that ended after only a few hours.

Davis and his American soundman Bill Latch were covering a radio tower that had been seized while tank protected the gate to the tower.

Without warning, the tank fired in their direction. Davis and Latch were killed by shrapnel. Davis died instantly, and the camera fell to the ground, still running.

The last scene recorded by his camera was of the fatally wounded Latch crawling for cover.

In 1986, Davis was posthumously entered into the TV Week Logie Awards' Hall of Fame.

Neil Davis talking about his experiences... worth while watching
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